Friday, May 6, 2011

#LetsLunch: liquid diet edition

Hooray! The triumphant return of the blog! and just in time for #LetsLunch, the monthly meeting of food-types with blogs, hosted by Cheryl Tan of A Tiger In The Kitchen.

Each month, after posting, Cheryl prods us into our next theme for lunch. Last month, as soon as Karen, of Geofooding, said she'd have to sit this round out (due to being on a liquid diet due to cancer surgery) we all threw our hats in the ring for a #LetsLunch Liquid Diets.

So, the day is today. I initially thought my offering might not make the cut (there are some decidedly non-liquid elements in my soup here...)  But this is a soup I made after Easter because I can't bear to just throw out food animal parts (ie: a perfectly good ham hock).

So, I started my soup with the leftover ham from Easter, some leeks and a little garlic. I really wish I would have had time to completely cool the stock and skim the fat that inevitably rises to the top, but I didn't have time. The soup was still tasty, but it would have been nice. 

I had never made a ham hock soup before (the usual ham soup ingredients don't really appeal to me, such as peas or white beans) so I wasn't totally clear how to proceed. I asked around on Facebook and Twitter (and got some great advice, as usual).

Instead of white beans I used black, the added the ham (lots of it!) and potatoes. I wanted to add zucchini to make it a little healthier, but people advised they could turn to mush sitting in the soup.

So, I fried the zucchini separately, tossed with oregano and breadcrumbs to make "croutons" which I added to my bowl just before serving. The zukes stayed somewhat crunchy this way but I still got to have them as a nice fresh addition.

Liquid Lunch ham hock soup: 
1 ham hock
2 leeks (sliced thinly)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Water (cover the ham hock or fill the pot about 2/3 of the way)
3-4 cups diced ham
2 cans black beans (rinsed)
2-3 cups diced potatoes (I used fingerlings, but you could use whatever you have on hand)
1-2 cups zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp* dried oregano  (this amount is a total guess... go crazy, add as much as you need)
1-2 TBS bread crumbs
1 tsp each (or more to taste) cumin, white pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve

* Cover ham hock, leeks and garlic with water and simmer 1 hour. If you have time, cool completely and skim any fat that rises to the top. If you just want to get to the part where you sit down to a hot bowl of soup, ignore and press on. 
* Remove the ham hock (carefully! splatters of hot stock HURT). Pull off any meat that's been boiled loose. Chop to bite-size pieces and return to the broth. 
* Add ham and potatoes. Continue to cook over medium heat 15-20 mins, then add the black beans. 
* In a separate pan, saute or grill the zucchini in the olive oil with the bread crumbs and oregano. Add more oregano if needed. 
* Season your soup with the cumin and white pepper. It should taste ham-y, smoky, and have a nice bite to it. 
* Put a few spoonfuls of the zucchini "croutons" in your bowl, then ladle hot tasty soup over. Serve with fresh parsley. 

Let's Lunch is a monthly meeting for food bloggers and is the brain child of Cheryl Tan. Our group chooses a date and a theme, then we all post our recipes on the same day.

If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you! send a Tweet to us using #letslunch (I'm @emmacarew).

Check out the liquid lunch offerings from the others: 

Cheryl’s Miso Bacon Corn Chowder at Tiger in the Kitchen.
Caitlin’s Spring Green Soup at her book tour blog
Linda’s Crack Pie Inspired Shake at Free Range Cookies.
Rashda’s Spring Pea and Mint Soup at Hot Curries & Cold Beer.
Ellise’s Cucumber-Avocado Gazpacho at Cowgirl Chef.
Mai's Peanut Butter Espresso Smoothie at Cooking in the Fruit Bowl
Eleanor's Turnip Pork Soup at Be a Wok Star 
Cathy's Almond Nut Milk Granita at ShowFood Chef
Steff's Gazpacho at The Kitchen Trials

Oh, and please, please, please raise your glass (or bowl... if you're having a liquid lunch) to our friend, Karen, at Geofooding, and her fight against cancer. 

PS - Karen, Cheryl & Rashda: stay tuned for the Kimchi Chiggae post I promised earlier!


  1. This looks delicious! I am so regretting that I skipped the Easter ham this year. Wonder if it's too late to get one now...thanks for sharing and I'll definitely raise a bowl to GeoKaren when I have seconds of my chowder! xx

  2. Looks great, Emma! Will definitely file for next year. Also Cheryl, I think you still get ham! Just ask your local butcher!

  3. I'm staying tuned! And, like you, I hate to waste good animal parts. :)